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Troy Polamalu On Instagram: ‘Safety Is No Accident, I Make It Happen’

Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Poamalu isn’t very active on social media so whenever he does decide to post something, it’s usually very well worth the time to read. On Monday, the 2020 Hall of Fame Class member wrote a very lengthy Instagram post and seemingly mostly based off a saying printed on the inside of the coffee mug he drinks out of daily.

Polamalu’s long Instagram post is hard to follow along with due to most of it being included in the comments of his original few paragraphs so I have taken it upon myself to reprint all of his words of wisdom in one easy-to-read post on this site. The original Instagram post is included below, along with the great picture of his inspiration for it, his coffee mug.

Polamalu seemingly effortlessly wrote about the position he played with the Steelers during his entire NFL career and there are a few life lessons mixed in for good measure. It’s a great read and I can’t wait to hear is Hall of Fame induction speech in 2021.


Copy Of Troy Polamalu’s Instagram Post on 7/13/2020:

This is written on a coffee cup I drink from every morning. My uncle Salu, was an engineer for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). He moved from American Samoa to a small town in Oregon, following his true love. My aunt Shelley was from Tenmile, Oregon, a tiny remote town with a diner, a market, and a now rundown elementary school my cousins and I attended. My uncle started out in 1970’s as most grunts do digging ditches, only he was Samoan, and everyone else was white, or as far as they were concerned, he was black. Unfortunately for them, my uncle Salu was a Samoan Mike Tyson, where only a mere look at times could drop people. This of course was countered with the most charismatic, loving, engaging, and loyal personality. My uncle worked his way up the ladder to be a head engineer after over 40 years with ODOT. He won this coffee cup as prize for his engineering masterpiece road work outside Diamond Lake, OR. This cup to me is more precious than any ring I’ve won. Not until this morning did I read what was written on the inside and find the correlation it has to my career.

SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT, I MAKE IT HAPPEN

There are widely covered war strategies that can be correlated to football defensive strategy. No doubt, Coach Lebeau was about pure domination, he would constantly ingrain in us, don’t give an inch, ever, and especially at the end of the game when the opponent could think that there would be some relief with time running out. The film never lies, so you play every opponent, every play.

THE BALL

I agree with Coach Carrol when he says, “It’s all about the ball!”

The most important thing about the game of football is of course the ball. Neither team can score without it. When an option for a big hit, or the ball, ball wins. The goal is to not only stop the opposing offense from scoring but to get the ball back and score as well. What are the things defenders can do to get the ball, score, all while stopping the offense from scoring. One thing about playing defense is unlike QB, WR, RB, TE, & kickers, the play is designed for them to get the ball and score. How can I score if the play wasn’t called for me? Or even make a play that didn’t come in my direction, or was not my responsibility. In order to get the ball there are some fundamental qualities a safety must understand before we begin to think externally, we must look internally.

ACCOUNTABILITY

As my wife always says, “I thought you played safety, what’s all that you were saying about being the multi-tool, so isn’t every touchdown your fault.”

“Yes baby, you’re right it was my fault.”

That’s right! Every touchdown is your fault safety. Make sure there are no accidents 🙂

*there is a lot more to be said about the best position in football, and the amazing and genius safeties that I’ve looked up to, both contemporary and in the past, that have epitomized what I only hoped to emulate.

STUDENT OF THE GAME

A fundamental quality a safety must have is to understand each defense and associated personnel groups. Understand every idiosyncrasy. The strengths, weaknesses, def personnel strengths & weaknesses, offensive personnel strengths & weaknesses, passing lanes, rush lanes, situational awareness. A safety is a three level player, when DL needs help, S is extra DL, when LB need help, safety is extra LB, when CB need help, S is extra CB. A safety is also a sideline to sideline player, boundary to boundary. A safety is the a coaches multi tool, gun, and shield. Of course first we have to understand our position before we learn others. This multifaceted position requires in depth understanding of each role, responsibility, and the overall intention behind each call.

FEAR

Although a fundamental quality is understanding basic chalk board material. A foundational quality in football in general is overcoming fear. First the fear of injury, or being hurt. Professional football to my knowledge is the only career that has a 100% injury rate. I believe life is the same. Running into pain is not natural. Overcoming this fear is freedom. In football, fear lies in every corner, fear of injury, failure, embarrassment, or losing accountability. There is a natural nervousness to competition, this timidity turns to fear with lack of preparation. The more fearless a safety plays, the faster a safety plays. Both in overcoming the fear of injury, and overcoming the fear of failure.

ANTICIPATION

I envy skill sports like basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. where quality repetition leads to skill mastery. A safety by himself can do little outside of game experience to find skill mastery. There are effective non traditional methods like meditation etc, but the assumption is that one has already exhausted all moral means outside of biomechanical movement. Rickson Gracie describes it as a sensitivity through constant repetition. The more a safety experiences the full length of the play, that is the QB calling the play in huddle to offensive personnel’s energy regrouping toward the huddle, the better.

DISGUISE

When Defenses are purposely not sound through in, it must be done through actionable awareness. Executing a responsibility while either holding feux body language or awareness towards the lesser threat. When responsibility is are under legitimate threat, it will be impossible to play 2 men or 2 zones. “He who defends everything defends nothing.” Dick Lebeau. Pre-snap and post-snap disguise is not a chess match, it’s a go match.

COGNITIVE UNDERSTANDING

When first understanding a defense, we must understand that every structure of a defense is to be sound. To have all run gaps and zones covered as well as elegible players. There must be flat players, deep players, man matched, etc. This is simply lining up, as well as the early non contact progression of the play. What is my responsibility. What positions depends on my support? What positions support me? If I’m a curl/ flat defender on the left side, my interior linemen and linebackers depend on my outside force, the Cornerback and Free Safety depend on flat, hook, comeback, corner, seam support, Linebackers depends on hook support etc. Which offensive players to my side are immediate threats, and secondary, who from the inside and backside are tertiary threats. Thorough comprehension of all positions and responsibilities are mandatory for safety’s.


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SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT, I MAKE IT HAPPEN This is written on a coffee cup I drink from every morning. My uncle Salu, was an engineer for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). He moved from American Samoa to a small town in Oregon, following his true love. My aunt Shelley was from Tenmile, Oregon, a tiny remote town with a diner, a market, and a now rundown elementary school my cousins and I attended. My uncle started out in 1970’s as most grunts do digging ditches, only he was Samoan, and everyone else was white, or as far as they were concerned, he was black. Unfortunately for them, my uncle Salu was a Samoan Mike Tyson, where only a mere look at times could drop people. This of course was countered with the most charismatic, loving, engaging, and loyal personality. My uncle worked his way up the ladder to be a head engineer after over 40 years with ODOT. He won this coffee cup as prize for his engineering masterpiece road work outside Diamond Lake, OR. This cup to me is more precious than any ring I’ve won. Not until this morning did I read what was written on the inside and find the correlation it has to my career. SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT, I MAKE IT HAPPEN There are widely covered war strategies that can be correlated to football defensive strategy. No doubt, Coach Lebeau was about pure domination, he would constantly ingrain in us, don’t give an inch, ever, and especially at the end of the game when the opponent could think that there would be some relief with time running out. The film never lies, so you play every opponent, every play.

A post shared by Troy Polamalu (@tpolamalu) on

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